Firekeeper’s Daughter

Firekeeper’s Daughter

by

Angeline Boulley

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Firekeeper’s Daughter: Chapter 40 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Jamie drives Daunis back to Chi Mukwa and his car. When they get out of the Jeep, he hugs Daunis and says that their relationship and their love exists separately from the investigation, and he’s not going anywhere. He asks her to squeeze his hand whenever she feels upset and tells her again that he loves her.
Despite Jamie’s insistence that it’s possible to separate their relationship from the investigation, Ron’s earlier warnings suggest that this isn’t actually true. Like Daunis, Jamie is perhaps young, naïve, and not well versed in how to best navigate this difficult situation.
Themes
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When Jamie arrives to pick Daunis up for Shagala the next night, his jaw drops upon seeing her. The jumpsuit is perfect, thanks to Mrs. Edwards. At the Jeep, Jamie offers Daunis a bracelet of beaded strawberries. It’s clearly Daunis’s cousin’s beadwork. As he fastens the clasp, Jamie says that the investigation can change fast, but he knows how he feels about Daunis. Daunis can feel her heart opening and starting to trust Jamie.
The berry bracelet shows Daunis that Jamie is genuinely listening and trying to show her he cares—he’s supporting a local artisan, and he chooses imagery that’s particularly meaningful for Daunis. But even if his and Daunis’s feelings are real, it’s yet to be seen whether they can effectively navigate a relationship that exists separately from the investigation.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
At the Superior Shores Resort, crowds cheer as the line of couples makes their way to the building. When they hear Auntie shouting, Jamie and Daunis break away from the line to go greet her. Daunis laughs at Jamie’s hand squeezes, which seem to communicate various things. Auntie takes photos of everyone on the steps. In the ballroom a bit later, Grant and Chief Manitou begin the ceremony. Levi, as team captain, gives a speech. Daunis winces as Levi talks: he’s “doing that forced I am but a humble Indian routine.” When he’s done, she tells him he sounded fake, but Macy quips that Daunis only got into the tribe by one vote. Some people, it seems, won’t let Daunis forget that that they see her as an outsider.
It’s been implied that a huge number of Supes players (and an even huger number of fans and sponsors) are white, not Native. So, though Levi might be doing his “I am but a humble Indian routine” to appeal to bigoted white folks (and get them to fund the team), Daunis still sees it as disrespectful and as selling out. However, Macy calls Daunis’s right to feel this way into question, reminding readers again that to some, Daunis will never be “Native enough.” This is even more ironic (and for Daunis, frustrating) because Daunis is portrayed as being more involved in day-to-day Ojibwe culture and spiritual practices than either Levi or Macy.
Themes
Justice Theme Icon
Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
Levi passes Daunis’s birthday gift to her across the table. It’s not Dad’s scarf: it’s Dad’s choker from his regalia. Levi hugs Daunis and whispers that there’s another surprise at her house. After dinner, Grant and Mrs. Edwards introduce the Supes and let the players and their dates open the dance floor. As Daunis sways with Jamie, she thanks him in Anishinaabemowin and calls him Ojiishiingwe, or “He has a scar on his face.” He asks if Daunis has a Spirit name and she says she does—but she’s not ready to share. Still, Daunis enjoys dancing with Jamie, and she’s thankful when she feels nothing watching TJ dance.
While not exactly what Daunis wanted, Dad’s choker perhaps does more than the scarf would’ve to connect Daunis to her heritage and to her family. This is something Daunis can wear when she resumes dancing at the end of her mourning period, allowing her to feel close to Dad when she dances (and not just when she plays hockey). Giving Jamie a name in Anishinaabemowin shows that Daunis trusts him and is willing to let him into her culture, though she’s not yet ready to take the step of telling him who she really is. This is fitting as Jamie hasn’t told Daunis yet who he really is, so on some level, they’re both continuing to deceive the other.
Themes
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Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
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As Daunis heads to the restroom, Ron catches her and says they need to talk. He asks what happened last night and says that everything Jamie does is his business. Daunis says that Jamie just took her to the ER after she hurt herself at the game last night, but Ron shares how Jamie got his scar. During Jamie’s first undercover assignment, a drug bust went wrong; had backup not arrived, the person would’ve kept cutting his face. Now, Ron says, Jamie is jeopardizing the investigation by getting too caught up in Daunis. Daunis insists that they can honor the investigation and have a relationship, but Ron reminds Daunis that Jamie Johnson isn’t real. He’s just a rookie officer trying to redeem himself, and he’s using Daunis—it was his idea to get close to her.
Ron is focused on the investigation, and that includes making sure Jamie doesn’t put himself in a compromising or dangerous position—which having sex with Daunis has done, in his estimation. It’s possible to see that Ron values Jamie’s safety over Daunis (and Jamie’s) happiness, though—and by extension, that he perhaps doesn’t value Daunis’s happiness and safety as much as one would hope. The revelation that it was Jamie’s idea to get close to Daunis, meanwhile, reminds Daunis that parts of her relationship with Jamie aren’t real. He is, as Ron notes, a federal agent working a case, not a high school student in love.
Themes
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Generational Trauma and Bigotry Theme Icon
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Quotes
In the restroom, Daunis is stunned: how can last night have been so magical if Jamie is using her? She receives a text from TJ warning her that he’s coming into the bathroom. Though Daunis locks herself in a stall, TJ tells her that Jamie is bad news—if only because he’s friends with Levi. This angers Daunis, but TJ says he broke up with Daunis because Levi and his friends threatened to “end football” for him. Daunis remembers how Levi threatened the hockey player as TJ says that Tribal Police said he’d have a hard time getting anyone to believe him over Levi.
Daunis struggles to accept that multiple things can be true: she and Jamie can care about each other, but that doesn’t change the fact that their relationship began with lies and deceit. TJ, meanwhile, throws another wrench in Daunis’s worldview by suggesting that Levi is violent and abuses his privilege as a Supe. Daunis has seen Levi behave violently before, but she also doesn’t like or trust TJ—so she may or may not take him seriously.
Themes
Love, Honesty, and Respect Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon
Family and Community Theme Icon
TJ admits he was a coward for how he broke up with Daunis, but he’s not a liar. Daunis insists he’s wrong, but TJ says he’s only wrong about what kind of a person Daunis is. Daunis already feels out of control when, down in the ballroom, Grant appears next to her and invites her to his room to see a video—security footage from his home office. Gramma Pearl always sad bad things happen in threes.
As Daunis sees it, it’s fitting that after being told she’s wrong about Jamie and Levi, she’ll have to face up to snooping in Grant’s office. However, she seems to take his reason for wanting to see her at face value—when the predatory behavior he has displayed the past few weeks (and his possible involvement in the meth cell) suggests that his motives may be much darker and more dangerous.
Themes
Ceremony, Pride, and Healing Theme Icon
Coming of Age Theme Icon